Crusade to save our children

NZ Herald Nov 14, 2009

Bennett is on a mission to tackle child abuse and she knows she has her work cut out. An average of eight children are killed each year, and many more end up battered in hospital at the hands of family members. Children under two are especially vulnerable; each year 59 are admitted to hospitals for what doctors call “non-accidental head injury” (often known as shaken baby syndrome) and more than 2000 confirmed cases of child maltreatment come to the attention of Child Youth and Family. New Zealand has the fourth-worst child murder rate in the OECD at 0.9 deaths for every 100,000 children.

Tackle the wider issues
Angus says that if the Government is serious about reducing child abuse it has to tackle root causes such as violence and drug and alcohol abuse. “Our rate of child abuse does appear to be high and I think that has got to be related in some way to the general level of violence in NZ society.” Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie’s wishlist includes tougher sentences for abusers and making changes to family structure. He points to research commissioned by the group which found a child was 50 times more likely to be abused by a mother’s live-in boyfriend than by her husband.